Scientists at Disney Research have developed technology that lets gadgets communicate via ambient radio waves, rendering big batteries unnecessary.

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Whether it’s a smartphone or a home assistant, wireless radios have become an indispensable part of modern day electronics. While these radios are crucial in allowing gadgets to communicate with one another, the big drawback is that they require big batteries. Their power-hungry nature has long been an obstacle to creating smaller and more innovative IoT devices, but judging by Disney Research’s latest discovery, that may soon change.

Disney Research scientists have found a way to let electronic devices use ambient radio waves to “talk to one another,” meaning wireless radios could no longer be necessary.

Disney Research scientists have found a way to let electronic devices use ambient radio waves to “talk to one another,” meaning wireless radios could no longer be necessary. This new technology essentially uses extremely low-power sensor nodes to reflect radio waves from various background sources – anything ranging from a conventional TV tower to your very own smartphone. Their paper outlines how they achieved node-to-reader communication distances of up to 50 meters using 17 ambient signal sources at the same time.

Of course, the underlying assumption is that there are multiple wireless signals already present, meaning it becomes practically useless in remote areas where ambient radio waves are non-existent. However, in urban areas or in homes, Disney Research’s new technology could allow for new innovative IoT products. There is no longer the need for wireless radios and subsequently for big batteries, so not only could manufacturers have the option to create more portable IoT devices, but the absence of size and power requirements could mean never-seen-before IoT devices in the future.

Do you think ambient radio waves could transform IoT devices as we know it? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

Brian Reigh
Brian Reigh is a contributor at Android Authority, covering all Android-related news and features. He has always been passionate about technology, especially mobile phones. He is a recent alum of Dartmouth College and is currently in law school.